Gardening principles | Home & Garden

Gophers are pesky rodents in North America and serious pests in the western two-thirds of the continent. They live in underground labyrinths. Deep main tunnels contain nesting and food storage areas, and large surface tunnels provide access to subterranean plant parts. Barriers can be placed, trapped, and repelled to keep these destructive little digs at bay.

Gopher tunnels are often found in distinctive fan-shaped dirt mounds. Moles, by contrast, push dirt out of their holes in a circular pattern.

Build a barrier around your garden or garden bed with 1/2 inch mesh wire fencing. Make sure it is buried at least 2 feet high and at least 2 feet deep. Goes 3 feet deep in light or sandy soil. Alternatively, plant the holes side by side with chicken wire or bulb cages sold at garden centers.

Protect the bark with a 1/2 inch galvanized hardware cloth. Submerge the bottom edge into the ground and wrap the cloth completely around the tree.

Mouse traps trap gophers, but there are also humane traps designed specifically for specific regions and for specific species. Check with your local cooperative extension service or wildlife management agency for recommendations. Also, ask about the laws regulating the capture of wild animals.

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